Discussion 1: Funder Relations
This Discussion will be available from Day 1 through Day 7 of this week. You are required to submit your initial post by Day 3. You are encouraged to post early. Once you have submitted your initial post, start responding to your colleagues. You must begin responding to your colleagues by no later than Day 5 and should continue to interact frequently with your colleagues through Day 7. Part of what makes a discussion a discussion and not a lecture is the back-and-forth, in-depth, animated interaction of at least two people. If you start a topic and none of your peers are responding to your post, consider what you can do to get the conversation going. Include something that would elicit further thoughts and different opinions from peers. Validate your opinions with references and links to the sources you used so that your peers can read them for themselves. See your Discussion Rubric in the Course Information Tab for specific grading requirements.
What should you look for in a prospective funder? What do you think funders look for in a grant/grantee? How can relationship building clarify and enhance the perception of one to another? Consider the development of your relationship with funders from beginning to end. How might one develop the relationship before, during, and after the application process?
Grant applicants might justifiably be reluctant to reach out to grantors if they are unsure of how and when it is appropriate. It is always a good idea to look closely at a prospective funding source and read and respect the guidelines for communication that are offered. Keep in mind as well that communication covers a variety of approaches, both verbal and written. Every communication, whenever and however it occurs, should be handled with confidence, clarity, and accurate information.
It is also important to remember that there are differences in building relationships with public vs. private funders. An applicant should reach out to a public funder if he or she has read the RFP and has questions that are not addressed. However, there is a fine line that must be considered between asking a legitimate and permissible question and being viewed as attempting to influence a government official during the application process. It is not uncommon to see public funders state in the RFP that no more questions will be accepted from applicants after a Technical Assistance (TA) call/webinar has been held. It is critical, therefore, that anyone working on the writing of such a grant attend the TA call/webinar. Not only should the applicant be in attendance, but he or she needs to be prepared and familiar with the RFP as well as the proposed project so that appropriate questions may be asked at that time. There may be no future opportunity.
Relationship building is ultimately more applicable to working with private funders. Grantees may find that relationships with private funders can be maintained for years and may result in ongoing project funding and additional sources of funding for other projects.
For this Discussion, consider the many ways that relationship building can influence the grant process. What challenges might this present? What strengths or skills do you think you need to develop or improve to enhance your grantsmanship within this area?
By Day 3
Post an explanation of the importance of building a relationship between funder and grantee.
Describe key elements of this relationship, providing rationale for your thinking. Explain the specific components that your grant funder/RFP is looking for in a grant. Describe why the grant funder/RFPs criterion is important and how it can influence the outcomes of the funding process.